Unseen Fiordland and Stewart Island | Heritage Adventurer | IExpedition

Unseen Fiordland and Stewart Island

  • Overview

    Join us, pioneers in authentic small ship expedition cruising, as we explore New Zealand’s remote southern backyard on this special voyage. Discover the time-forgot rawness of wildlife rich Stewart and Ulva Islands before exploring the primordial majesty of Fiordland where clouds scud ragged peaks of glacier-cleaved mountains only accessible by expedition ship, and the rare opportunity to combine these iconic destinations on one voyage. 

    Rich in history and wildlife, Stewart and Ulva Islands are home to a unique range of birdlife. There will be opportunities to listen to the native bird song and enjoy the golden sandy beaches.

    We plan to Zodiac cruise glittering waterways amid the podocarp forestcloaked spines of Anchor and Resolution Islands and the tiny islands of Dusky Sound where orchids, flametipped Rata and clusters of alpine tree daisies put on an impressive floral display.

    Duration: 6 days
    Passengers: 180 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Queenstown
    Disembarkation Point: Invercargill/Queenstown
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 0.0x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Queenstown

      Passengers should make their way to the designated hotel where we will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of our expedition team.

    • Day 2 - Port of Bluff/ Stewart Island

      Today we enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant before departing for the Port of Bluff and Stewart Island before embarking your ship. New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track. It is a wonderfully tranquil place and with 85 per cent of the island designated national park, the scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. Despite its small stature on most maps, Stewart Island has 700-kilometres of coastline so there is much to explore and experience here. Enjoy the impressive bird song as we explore Ulva Island, rich in history and wildlife, which has been predator-free since 1997. Some of the wildlife you may get to see while walking its tracks and exploring Boulder and West End Beaches, Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove include Stewart Island Robin, Stewart Island Weka, South Island Kaka, Kereru (wood pigeon), Mohua (yellowhead), Red-crowned Parakeet, Fantail, Bellbird and Tui. There are many more species that may also be seen, our knowledgeable expedition guides will be listening for bird calls and keeping a close watch in overhead canopies and the surrounding shrubs to identify further species. In Paterson Inlet visit the historic Norwegian whaling station in Prices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay, where from 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Sandefjord, Norway ran a repair base where chaser boats were serviced in preparation for the Antarctic summer. Discover quirky town centre Oban in Halfmoon Bay where a drink with a view can be enjoyed at the historic and iconic South Sea Hotel.

    • Day 3/5 - Fiordland

      We have three days to explore the incredible wilderness of fiords in the south-west corner of the South Island. This is an area rich in history, majestic scenery and abundant in wildlife. Fiordland was well known to local Maori people, with the demigod Tu-te-raki-whanoa being said to have used his adze, Te Hamo, to carve out the region’s fiords. Captain Cook and his crew landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773, they were the first Europeans to visit Fiordland, subsequently spending five weeks in Dusky Sound. Cook’s records of his discovery and maps attracted sealers and whalers not long after who then formed the first European settlements of New Zealand, historically this region is very important and shaped the future of the country. From the middle of the 19th Century this unexplored interior Fiordland coastline attracted the attention of those in search of hidden greenstone or New Zealand jade, and surveyors seeking to understand this region further. Fiordland’s West Coast is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand’s mainland. Waterfalls, streams, rivers and fiords are enveloped with misty veils that come and go, revealing steep gradients of mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. A rugged terrain, the thickly forested floors are covered with ferns, lichens and mosses. Bottlenose Dolphins, Fiordland Crested Penguins and Little Penguins are all residents of the fiords; during our time here we will look out for them. Our schedule gives us the flexibility to visit as much as possible, areas we plan to visit during our time in Fiordland include Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, Acheron Passage, Astronomer’s Point and Pickersgill Harbour. Our final plan will be determined by the weather. The Captain and Expedition Leader will work hard to make the best use of our time in this incredible region of New Zealand, including areas that even few New Zealanders have visited. The isolation of Fiordland has been beneficial because its beauty remains unspoiled and its historic sites undisturbed. Tonight we enjoy a farewell and celebratory dinner with newfound friends with time to reflect on a wealth of new experiences and recap on what amazing wildlife, plant life, landscapes and history we have enjoyed.

    • Day 6 - Invercargill/Queenstown

      Early this morning we will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast we bid farewell to our fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either Invercargill or Queenstown Airports. In case of unexpected delays due to weather and/or port operations we ask you not to book any onward travel until after midday from Invercargill and after 3pm from Queenstown.

  • Adventure Activities

    Helicopter Excursion

    This excursion will provide you with an entirely new perspective of this incredible place.

    USD$ 431 per person
  • Inclusions
    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Local payment
    - All on board ship accommodation with meals, house beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner and all shore excursions and activities.
    - One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
    - Programme of lectures by noted naturalists
    - Pre/Post cruise transfers

    Not included in your Expedition

    - All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities
    - International/domestic flights, helicopter excursion, visas and travel insurance.
  • Map
    Fiordland stewart map.jpg
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the 'Grande Dame of Polar Exploration' due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purposebuilt for adventure in 1991 at Finland's Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.

    Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship iceclass rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages.

    Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. 

    Features & Facilities
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 5
    Guests #: 139
    Crew #:
    Ice Class: Lloyds 1AS, GL E4
    Speed: 15
    Refurbished: 1991
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 2021
    Length: 124m
    Width: 18
    Draft: 5
    Tonnage: 8378
    Registry:
    Elec Outlets:
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